Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Camping is not for Cowards (I am a Coward)

We're home now from camping, which you would think would mean that my work and stress load has diminished significantly.  Not so much!  I feel like the proverbial dog chasing his tail, going round and round, but not accomplishing much at all.  Both this week and next week are going to be horrifically busy.  I'm kind of looking forward to the week after that, understandably!

We made it to the campground and it went pretty well, considering - considering how much I hate camping, that is!  Oh, I am just not cut out for the outdoor life!  And I have an air-conditioned camper!  But I did really well at hiding my extreme discomfort.  I know Paul absolutely loves it, so I hate to rain on his parade.  This trip was not easy at all, though.  We had an extra person with us, which didn't help.  I came down with a bladder infection our first night there - not fun!  The temperatures soared into the 90s for two of the days.  We spent one afternoon at the lake (ick) and the next at a local aquatic center (much better!).

We celebrated David's birthday out in the wilderness, complete with his "13" box that I do for each of the boys' 13th birthdays.  I read a lot - I've been making my way for the past couple of months through Karen Kingsbury's Baxter family series and got a couple of those books read while there.  I just can't get enough of those stories!  Our friends, Keith and Julie, came out to eat supper with us on Sat. night.

We had an unpleasant incident, though, on Sun evening that just cracked my heart.  It had never occurred to us before that Ben is probably too old to be hanging around playgrounds.  That's where his mentality is and that is what he likes to do.  So he spent quite a bit of time at the campsite's playground.  Well, Sun. evening a DNR guy came to our site and said that a little girl had said that Ben was trying to look up her dress at the playground.  We know that wasn't true and Ben was absolutely devastated by the accusation.  He was nearly hysterical - after talking to him I realized that he thought the police were looking for him, so we were able to calm him down once we figured that out.  We know he wouldn't do something like that.  That definitely soured the trip for me (like I wasn't soured anyway by the mere fact that we were camping!)  Why are people so mean?

We had a respite child with us while we camped.  That actually went pretty well - until the end.  I'm not allowed to talk specifics because of confidentiality rules, but let's just say, our eyes were definitely opened a little wider this week about children in the system and the system itself.  As a fellow foster mom talked  with me  yesterday, she exclaimed, "You can not take God out of anything - including foster care - and expect it to work!"  We're feeling a bit frustrated and angry at the moment.  However, we are getting this particular child back in a few weeks and Paul is suggesting to me that that may be a "God" thing - a chance for us to show Christ to this little boy.  Once I get done being mad, maybe I'll be willing to agree!

Last week Sam showed me some bumps on his hand.  I didn't think anything of them - thought maybe they were seed warts or something that he had when he was a toddler.  But by Monday morning (still camping) I realized that Sam had poison ivy all over his face!  Will had done some weed eating last week and has had poison ivy on his ankles since then.  I guess Sam got into it, too.  It was after 7 that evening before I could get him to the hospital.  Oh, and did I mention our camper had a flat tire before we left the campground?  Yep - par for the course, I'm thinking.  So, anyway, he's on prednisone and some hydra-something-or-other for the itching.  He even has it inside his mouth, poor kid.  Last summer it was Will that got it on his face and Sam got it so badly on his legs that they got all infected.  They told us then that once a person has been exposed, they will have a susceptibility to getting it in the future.  In fact, the ER nurse told me her son gets it every single summer.  Will told me he did some research yesterday, though, and what he read seems to indicate that that susceptibility lessens with age.  I hope so!

I spent all day yesterday shopping with Ben and David.  I ended up trekking to the south side Walmart THREE times!  That's always my last stop on my shopping days and we got there and did a little shopping and then it was time for the boys' chiropractic appt - in W. Des Moines.  So we jumped in the van and headed that direction.  Then we still had some time before Will and David's softball game, so we went back to Walmart.  And then after the games, Ben and I went back to finish up!  You'd think after all that, I must really love Walmart, but I don't.  I hate that place.  We didn't get home until almost 10:30.

Ok, so this blog is a downer, I'm seeing.  Camping does that to me, I think!  I need to come up with some good news to include in here.

Oh, here is one:  I wrote a story for FaithWriters two weeks ago and it got 7th place!  Here's the link:    Our topic was "fame" and I wove that into a story about the elderly, specifically those suffering from memory loss.  I need to write more and I need to write for other venues.  I need to do a lot of things.

I had a stunning thought yesterday.  I was wearing my favorite "Twilight" t-shirt.  Everybody knows how much I love my vampires.  Two summers ago I blew through all four of the books in about three weeks.  I have eagerly anticipated each and every movie (Breaking Dawn: Part 2 comes out this Nov. 18!!).  While I have always appreciated the quality and message of the entire Twilight saga, it has, unfortunately, spawned a whole genre of really unacceptable vampire books, shows, movies, etc.  All of a sudden, while driving (of course - my most intense thoughts always seem to hit behind the wheel) Deuteronomy 30:19 popped into my head where God tells the Israelites to "choose life."  Wow.  Vampires are dead (well, ok, they aren't real, but in the fantasy world, they are dead).  All this time I thought Twilight was just a fun, romantic story.  But now I'm wondering if I have been wrong all this time.  By getting excited by the underworld, am I embracing life, as God tells us to do?  Perhaps I'm being too introspective here and it really is just a harmless diversion.  But it really has me thinking, anyway.

I will say, the one nice thing about camping is that my to-do list had to stay home.  Unfortunately, coming home from a camping trip only adds to the list once home!  So, I've got a multitude of things to conquer on that list today, as well as more laundry than I have seen in a long time.  Better get moving!  I promise to be more cheerful in my next post!

Friday, May 18, 2012

SCL, State, School, and Sam

I should be able to finish this up today.  I'm plowing through a massive to-do list - hoping to get it all done before Ben's SCL worker and the new foster kids arrive late this afternoon.  Then - next week - ugh!  I don't even want to think about that, all I have to get done in preparation for going away, camping, Memorial Day weekend, getting David's birthday stuff all ready, and caring for an additional child!

On Ben's SCL worker: this is kind of a cool thing.  We started SCL (Supported Community Living) services last fall.  It's something sp. needs individuals qualify for on the state's ID waiver - people come into the home and teach practical life skills to the sp. needs person.  Well, we had one worker that I really liked (other than the fact that she reeked of cigarette smoke ever time she came in the house!) but she lost her job in Dec.  Then, we got a new worker in January or Feb.  I was a little less sure of her, but she abruptly quit on us in early March because she disagreed with goals that Ben's case manager and I had decided on.  She thought Ben needed more social goals.  Yes, that's important, but I saw that as more of something that is naturally integrated into the other goals we have for him.  Plus, there was disagreement over where she could and could not take him on SCL time.  Nice lady, but it just wasn't working out.  So, anyway, she quit and our case manager had called and asked if I knew anyone who might be willing to become Ben's worker.  Immediately, the face of a college student from church popped into my mind, but I tried to push it away.  I didn't want to put him in a difficult position in case he just didn't want to do.  He's a bit of a shy young man and I didn't want him to agree to help Ben just to please me.

But, I did ask him and to my surprise, he was agreeable.  He went and did the required training and was subsequently hired by one of the area SCL/respite providers.  His mother told me she thought this was a wonderful opportunity for her son, which made me feel better about imposing on him!  So anyway, we finally got all the paperwork and training out of the way and David came out to our house for the first time last week.  He's working on teaching Ben safety skills and grocery shopping and money abilities.  He's also going to be providing respite care for Ben.  Respite is more of a "fun" time, SCL is educational.  My concern is that David will actually earn enough to make his invested time worthwhile.  He assured me that as long as his gas his covered, he's not worried about actually earning money at this.  I just think it's going to be so marvelous for Ben to spend time with a Christian young man, who is not his brother - someone that he can model himself after.  So, perhaps God flashed David's face in my mind for a reason!

We went up to Ames yesterday for Ben's bocce ball tournament.  His team got a gold medal!  Some year I would love to stay up in Ames the whole entire time that the state meet is going on.  From what I hear, it's an amazing three days for all the athletes.  They get to stay in the dorms and they have all kinds of different activities for the athletes to do when they're not competing.  I've even been told they have a dance for them.  Not sure how I feel about that, though.  I know it would be perfectly innocent for the mentally impaired, but dances are something we've tried to avoid with the boys.  But anyway, that's a worry for another day!  We go up bright and early tomorrow morning (we have to be there by 8:30 and it's an hour away - ugh) for Ben and Will's unified relay race.  Then, we'll head back, run a few errands out at Jordan Creek (all 6 children in tow) and then go to 4 different graduation open houses!  Sure hope my van holds up to all that running around!

They have actual medal ceremonies for all the athletes where they stand on a platform and special music is played.  Their names are announced, one by one, as the medals are placed around their necks.  Ben, however, was much more interested in the guy holding the microphone than he was in getting a gold medal!

Next year at this time we'll be neck-deep in Will's graduation.  I'm hoping to get his open house out of the way earlier in May, though, before his actual graduation ceremony.  Will's plans are becoming a bit more solidified as he gets closer to graduation.  He's spent some time with the guidance counselor at the high school, which has been helpful.  Next semester he is taking psychology for college credit and speech.  Speech is not a credit class but it's kind of hard to take that when you're home schooled!  I guess it is a graduation requirement for all Iowa high schools and most colleges expect their incoming students to have already taken it.  Same thing with Health, now, too, which bothers me.  I'm very picky about what Ben is allowed to sit in in Health Class (no sex ed teachings and I'm bothered a bit by all the drug and anti-bullying talks, but I let them slide).  Then, second semester, he's planning to take Composition I, which is also for credit and he may be taking a 7am computer graphics class.  That last one is something he just found out about today.  Not sure if it is a credit class or not.  We need Will to plan on getting a job after football is over, so I hope he doesn't load himself up too much, academically.  That sounds kind of odd coming from a parent, doesn't it?

The school offers both Art and Industrial Tech (Shop) to 7th graders so David is going to be taking those next school year.  I guess we're becoming more and more hybrid homeschoolers all the time.  Every year at the conference there is always some speaker who warns parents against this very thing.  I can see exercising caution, esp. depending on your child's temperament.  And I'd have a real problem being in an HSAP because I don't want education choices for my children dictated to me, even if I'm the one doing the teaching. But I don't see any wisdom in making it a blanket rule.  I know when we started homeschooling I didn't want anything to do with the public school because we had had such a rotten experience with Ben's kindergarten year (and I was still rather offended that they told me in an IEP meeting that they doubted that I had the skills necessary to educate him at home) but the boys are older now and I'm a lot more comfortable in my homeschooling skin than I was back then.  Really, being a homeschool parent is more about making educational choices for your children rather than teaching them absolutely everything they need to know at home.  With so many choices out there, why limit yourself?

Ben's IEP meeting was last Friday.  Did I already mention that?  Anyway, it went really, really well.  I don't even dread those things anymore.  In a weird twist, there are currently NO special needs students making the leap from the elementary school to the middle school this next year.  Now, I suppose that could change if someone moved into the district or something.  But anyway, they are having all 3 of the 8th grade boys in Ben's room move up to high school with their full-time aides.  That doesn't usually happen.  There is some talk about having them switch aides though, which concerns me a bit.  However, had things happened normally, Ben would have lost his all together, so I can't complain too much.  Ben will have two new teachers in the special ed. room in high school,  But his middle school teacher will be moving up, too, since he needs something to do all day and there won't be any middle schoolers for him to work with.  So, I am practically giddy about all this!  Ben's taking it all in stride.  He's so adaptable (never, ever though I'd say that about my autistic son!).

Sam injured himself last Sunday night at church.  He decided it would be a good idea to climb a light pole that is anchored in concrete.  He came in, all scraped and bloody.  I took that in stride - getting skinned knees is pretty much a daily occurrence with this kid.  I worked on bandaging him up when Sam lifted up his shirt.  He had this HUGE cut/scrape going all the way from his rib cage to past his belly button - probably a good 8".  Oh man, I about lost my lunch, it looked so bad!  He looked like he had been in a combat zone by the time I got done bandaging him.  He healed up quickly, though, and after the first couple of days, I didn't even need to cover his stomach anymore.  So now he has all these dirty spots from the tape that was holding the big bandages in place.  There is a switch box on the light pole and he caught the corner of that with his front.  I want to say "I bet he never climbs that thing again!" but that might be presumptuous, knowing this kid.  I am still amazed that he has gotten to be this old but has not had to be stitched yet.  We've done a few ER trips with him, but not with anything split open.  Well, there was that time he fell through the tarp into the basement and should have had spot stitched or glued...thank you, incompetent Knoxville Hospital ER staff!  That's why we go up to Children's now when the boys need to be seen.

Ok, well, this housework is not getting done while I'm on the computer, so I am getting off here.  More later!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Shredded Tires and Surrender

Well, I tried to move this picture down, so I wouldn't have to address it right away, but this new blogger format is not letting me do that and I don't have time to play with it.  So, anyway - that's me on Mother's Day.  I'm not sure what Ben is chewing in his mouth or if that's just his tongue sticking out the side.  But of the 3 pictures Paul took of all of us, this one was the least objectionable, so here it is!

Remember what I said about this week getting less busy towards the end?  Well, forget that - I'm not going to catch a break at all this week.  Things have changed!  More on that later!

I went to Council Bluffs on Sat. to spend the day with Kathy.  We had a wonderful day.  Kathy is what I would refer to, in an Anne of Green Gables way,  as a "kindred spirit."  We are so alike in so many ways and have this marvelous relationship where we can go months and months without talking or writing and pick up where we left off.  Not that we should go months and months without communicating, but we have 9 kids between us and life gets in the way!   I even picked up my own Mother's Day present while out there, unknowingly.  Paul asked me to swing out by our old pastor's house and pick up a "box."  I've learned not to ask too many questions around holidays so I did as he asked.  I was leaving town around 7:30 and all of a sudden, my back tire shredded.  I immediately pulled over and called Paul's folks.  To my amazement, I found myself just praising God for the timing.  This had not happened earlier when I was driving Kathy and myself around town.  It had not happened halfway between Des Moines and Council Bluffs, but just right there in town on the interstate.  A few years ago I would have sat there, mad as all get out at Paul for not anticipating that this might happen. Maybe I am maturing!   Paul's dad came and we ended up driving the van down to Walmart and they were able to put a new tire on for me.  The tire we had on there was new (to us - used by someone else) but apparently it was defective!  So I didn't get home until close to midnight.

It was quite an explosion.  The exploding rubber made a fist-sized hole in the side of my van (grrr) and broke off part of the bumper.  The nice guy at Walmart tied it up for me, though.  Our van passed the 200,000 mile mark early this spring and I'm not sure how much longer it will last.  I'm praying it will last indefinitely because we really cannot afford to replace it right now.  I did stop at some auto parts place yesterday and bought some anti-rust stuff and some matching paint so hopefully I can disguise my aging van - kind of like putting make-up on an old crone?  I don't know!

I was so grateful for Saturday (well, not the van part, but the rest of it) because I was a bit bummed as the weekend approached.  I had prayed so earnestly that God would give us our kids by Mother's Day.  But as the weekend approached that looked less and less likely to happen.  I don't even think Paul realized how much I had pinned on things happening by Sunday.  Someone dear to my heart did, though, and wrote me the most encouraging note as we got into the weekend.  That note carried me through, I think!

Sunday morning our pastor talked about Hannah.  I've heard more than one Mother's Day sermon on Hannah over the years.  She and the Proverbs 31 woman seem to be popular subjects on that Sunday!  As Pastor talked I found myself really relating to Hannah.  Of course, I did that all those years when I prayed to become pregnant after David and couldn't.  That's how Sam got his name!  But here I am again, praying for a child who is slow in coming.  As he talked I found myself surrendering the whole thing.  I told the Lord that morning that I will wait for as long as I need to (like I have a choice) but I will wait peaceably, trying to remember that God has this!  In His time, He will give us another child - if that is His will.  And if it's not, I need to be ok with that, too.  I felt much better after the morning service - more at peace.

And now I have children coming right and left!  The last two days I have fielded more calls and emails about respite care than I ever anticipated!  We're taking a brother/sister duo this weekend.  And then we have a 7r old coming Monday.  He'll be here for an entire week.  He's also coming back later in June for 5 days.   Then, I have a week off (and I WILL have a week off - too many other things going on that week to watch kids) and then I'll have my two respite toddlers I had in March for another week.  It also looks like I'm going to have their older siblings for two of those days.  Whew!

So, perhaps God wants us to focus on temporarily caring for children for awhile until the ones he wants us to keep (so to speak) become available.  I guess that's ok. 

I'll have to make sure I keep popping vitamins in order to keep up with all this extra busyness around our house!  I have not gotten to bed at a decent time since last Thursday night.  Last night I finally fell into bed around 11:30 and then I could NOT fall asleep.  I don't know what the deal was with that.  It took me about an hour.  Paul has difficulty staying asleep all night, thanks to the med he has been on since last fall.  It's working amazing for controlling his seizures but the drawback is that he wakes frequently, esp. in the early morning hours.  He accidentally woke me up at 5:30 this morning and then I could not fall back asleep, even though I had only had less than 5 hours of sleep.  I re-set my alarm (I thought) and did fall back asleep, awaking at 7:20, 5 minutes before Ben's bus is scheduled to arrive!  I flew out of bed, but fortunately, Paul and Ben had managed just fine.  Ben was dressed in matching clothes, deodorized, hair combed, and food in his tummy.  I really wasn't needed!  I'll be up late again tonight because I have a story I want to write for FaithWriters.  I did that again last week for the first time in a long time - felt so good.  I think I know now that I need to be writing regularly.  I'm hoping I can get some good sleep Thursday night because I won't be getting a lot on Friday.  Yep - lots of vitamins!

Something interesting as I wrap this up: I saw on the news this week that they just released the top name picks for last year for new babies.  "William" is number three on the list.  I was shocked!  I didn't think that had ever been popular.  Well, actually, I think they said it had been 67 years since that name had made it on the list.  That would be about right, I think!  I like picking "normal" names for my kids but I always hoped they would be a little unusual, at least in the sense that if they ever went to school they wouldn't have three other kids in their class with the same name! I don't know too many other kids with Will's name, but I guess in another decade or so there will be a bunch of teenagers running around with that moniker!  Wonder if any of them will be called "Bill"?  I think that nickname has totally fallen by the wayside, kind of like "Dick" and "Bernie" and "Gordon."  Some names just need to be retired, anyway...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sports Talk

I feel like I have been running non-stop since last Friday morning.  Well, there's no "feel" to it - I have been!  I am anticipating slowing down a bit this week - briefly - towards the end of the week.  But Saturday will be a crazy, crazy busy day.  Ugh - one day at a time, one day at a time!

We've decided to put our plans for S. Dakota on hold.  After the football meeting we had last week with Will's new coach, we just realized there was no possible way we're going to be able to get away anytime in August.  Will is going to be working at camp for all of June and July, solid, so there goes the summer.  Paul said he thought it would be good to focus on Will's football season, anyway, since this will be his senior year.  We're going to try to get to as many away games as possible, so we'll be traipsing all over the state this fall!  The school moved down a division because of their size, so I wonder what that will mean as far as travel goes.  When they were 1-A, it seemed like they had quite a few games that were a fair distance.  Actually, what Paul said he'd like to do is to wait and combine the S. Dakota trip with going out West to Wyoming so we could see Yellowstone and whatever else is out there.  I'm not banking on that happening any year soon, but we'll see!

Will has a new head football coach now.  He's young (maybe 30, if even that).  It's his first head coaching job - they recruited him from Valley in W. Des Moines.  He has two little boys - one Sam's age and a baby.  He's very fired up and determined to bring the Trojans back to their former glory.  He's making summer weight-lifting mandatory (it was always just a "come if you can" kind of thing before) and has all kinds of new rules and expectations.  I'm not saying it's a bad thing - playing any sport takes a good deal of discipline.   As Will and I sat in the bleachers the other night at the meeting I was really getting a sinking feeling in my stomach, wondering if Will would have to choose between working at camp and playing football because he will not be around for weight-lifting.  I started praying right there in my seat that God would allow the coach to see the value of Will missing weight-lifting in order to work!  We talked to him afterwards and thankfully, he was very understanding!  I guess there is another homeschooled boy on the team, too.  In fact, he was part of the team last season, but Will never mentioned that to me until the other night!  So...go Trojans!

David came to me the other night, obviously upset about something.  It finally came out that he had come to a realization that he really doesn't want to play football (this fall would have been the first season he could play).  I hope we never gave out a vibe of expectation in this area.  In fact, I always secretly wondered when David would say things about playing because, honestly, for a number of reasons, I have a hard time envisioning David out on the field!  But apparently, he had been putting himself under some mental pressure thinking that he had to play, but was beginning to dread the idea more and more.  I assured him that he certainly did not have to play football, or any sport for that matter.  God gifts us all differently and just because his older brother loves the game and plays it well doesn't mean that we expect all the kids to follow suite.  "Yeah," David said, "I think I'm better at watching football than playing it!"  The next day David came to me and said that he was kind of thinking about going out for track.  I guess we'll see what happens with that.  I think David's body - long and wiry - is probably better suited to jumping hurdles than plowing into line men!  The only thing is...track is spring sport and you know what spring is like around here - rainy, rainy, and cold!  I have a mental image of myself huddled miserably under an umbrella while sitting on cold, metal bleachers...

All right, I've got to run now.  David has a visit with the orthodontist, then he's getting his birthday picture taken and I have a few errands to run that I was not able to get done yesterday while doing my all-day shopping.  I'm tired!  But I'll blog some more tonight or tomorrow...or Wednesday, or maybe Thursday.  I'll get caught up eventually!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Growing, Growing, and Gone

Isn't this the most perfect picture?  What is more "all boy" than a little boy in a tree that he climbed himself?  This was taken at Drake University yesterday (more on that later).

As you can see, Sam is now nearly bald.  I cut hair one night this week and Sam was still very set on getting his buzz cut.  I pointed out to him a framed portrait I have of his brothers when they were 3, 5, and 7 and all of them had buzz cuts at the time.  They were all actually quite cute in the picture - my little trio.  I said to him, "Now, this is what you'll look like.  Are you sure this is what you want?"  He nodded eagerly.  Sigh...So I cut it all off.  I seriously wanted to cry!

I know it's only hair and I know that it would be wrong of me to impose my desires on my kids when it's something so unimportant (now if they came to me wanting a blue streak or even a mohawk, that would be a different story!), but I still don't like it!  I didn't mind shearing the other boys when they were little.  But I'm in a different place this time around, mothering Sam.  When I had the others, I was in a "survival" mode.  They came one right on top of the other and we had so much going on with Ben that there just wasn't a lot of time to think about things.  But this time around, I've been older and I have appreciated every single moment of Sam's life, realizing just how precious and fleeting these years would be.  Losing his curls feels like I've just permanently shut the door on his babyhood.  And I suppose I have.

But, oh, he's a happy boy!

Now, for the picture: we spent yesterday at Drake.  For the first time, Pleasantville participated in something called the "Unified Games."  It's a Special Olympics event but it's not just for sp. needs athletes.  They invite all sp. needs kids and then schools need to provide an equal number of "normal" kids to go, as well.  They have a variety of sporting events set up inside and outside the Knapp center and the kids all play together.  It was awesome!  Three sp. needs students from Pville attended, along with two of their aides, Ben's teacher, two of the football coaches, all of my kids, and our sp. olympics coordinator, who is also the mother of one of the school's sp. need's students.  We had so much fun.  It was completely free and we were all given nice, thick, matching t-shirts.  They provided lunch and then afterwards, we all stopped for ice-cream on the way home.  There were about 800-1000 participants, I would say.  I rode up to Drake with Maureen, who is the coordinator.  I've been working with her for the last year but it was my first opportunity to really get to know her.  I enjoyed it!  I was SO tired when I got home, though, that I actually fell asleep.

We have Ben's IEP meeting a week from today.  I am honestly not dreading it.  In fact, I'm looking forward to pointing out to the team some of the things I'm seeing at home.  One day recently, Ben stuck his head in the doorway of my bedroom and informed me that I "didn't have to get up."  Not only had he dressed himself (remembering the deodorant - yay!) but he had fed himself, put his cup in his backpack for lunch, and even unloaded the dishwasher!  I got up anyway.  It's progress.  I have gone from pulling him out of bed and having to remind him every single morning to put on deodorant and to get his shirt on right side out to him being pretty self-reliant in the mornings.  He will be losing his wonderful middle school teacher, though, as he moves into high school.  I wish that didn't have to happen! 

Will has been quite troubled lately about what to do about college.  I didn't realize this until he came to me yesterday and told me that his coach had been quizzing him yesterday, asking him his post-high-school plans.  I guess Will is so fearful of going into debt that he's even been toying with the idea of not going to college at all and just "working a normal job and living a debt-free life."  His coach asked him if money worries were not a concern what would he most love to do with his life.  And Will said he that he immediately told him he wants to be a meteorologist.  Right now, anyway, that is a desire that God has placed in his heart.  Will told me that and I encouraged him to pursue that dream.  We never wanted to discourage him from pursuing a college education.  We just didn't want him to go if he didn't have any reason why he was there.  I told him that if he has a dream God will provide a way.  It's Proverbs 3:5-6.  Will is still very intent on having a year at Faith first.  He may work a year before going to save the money.  And I honestly don't have a problem with him graduating with some college debt.  I don't want it to be such a burden that he spends most of his working years trying to escape it.  But if he gets a high-paying enough job then it shouldn't be a problem to pay it off relatively soon.  Will asked me, "But what if I meet a girl at Faith and I want to get married?   How will I finish college then?"  I assured him that everything would work out, even if he falls in love along the way!  I joked about him needing to meet a girl just like his mother and Will seriously replied that no, that was definitely NOT what he wanted.  I'm thinking I should be hurt here...

We're thinking about going to S. Dakota for a few days in August.  It would just be a long weekend, rather than a real vacation.  We wouldn't get to do everything there is to do up there, but we could at least see Mt. Rushmore, which is something even Paul and I have never seen before.  We thought we'd leave on a Friday and then end up back in Des Moines on Monday and go to Adventureland that day.  His employer gives us tickets every August for that.  Paul is getting panicky about Will finishing high school because there are all these places he wanted to take him before that happened and now we only have two summers.  He is saying we have to go out to Ohio next summer to the Creation Museum.  And that's fine, but I'm not going to start planning anything yet - it depends on money.  And we have a van that passed the 200,000 mile mark a few months ago.

I got a call this week to do respite care for a week in June for the first kids we had back in March.  I could do it except for one of the days which falls on the homeschool conference.  I really don't want to give that up  So, the worker was going to get back to me.  She hasn't yet.  And besides, what if we have our own kids by then?  She told me if that happened they would make alternate respite care plans for the other kids.  She said it in a way that sounded like "Duh, you dummy!"  Well, I didn't know how that worked!

Today, I am going to start sending out our adoption flyer.  Our IFAPA leader got me 2 addresses to start with.  She said there are more, she just needs to find them. 

I've been asked to work with the 4-6th graders for VBS this year.  I've never done that age group before, other than having my own kids.  It actually scares me a bit.  Kids are so sophisticated by that age and what if they feel like I'm talking down to them because I'm used to working with 4 year olds?  I hope it works out ok.  On the other hand, I was pretty exhausted at the end of  last year's VBS working with my pre-primaries.  Maybe it had more to do with the fact that we had 21 of them, though!

Well, David needs the computer to work on his Camp Coins.  I'm really proud of him.  I had envisioned having to do most of his work for him, but he has taken complete responsibility for himself this year, including the typing.  So I need to keep moving.  Melissa and I are going out tonight (postponed from 2 weeks ago when I had the respite kids and Paul worked late).

Oh, oh - before I go:   I am pretty impressed with myself today and think my readers should be, too.  Today I actually took in a blouse and dress for myself.  "Took in" - doesn't that sound so domesticated and knowledgeable?  And they look great!  I am just not a seamstress at all and am, honestly, very impressed and cowed by those that take paper patterns, figure them out, and end up with a garment on the other side of things.  I just can't do that.  I have tried and it's an exercise in frustration and futility.  I was born to shop, not to sew.  But I actually pinned these clothing items of mine, which means I used a real measuring tape and stick pins.  I even had to make a new bobbin on my sewing machine, but I did it.  And I am so pleased with the results!  I doubt I'll ever spend hours sewing my own daughter's wedding dress someday (I'll fork over a credit card to pay for one instead) but by golly, if something needs to be taken in, I'm your woman!